By miles, “Jack of Lies” is the most entertaining episode of MacGyver we’ve seen so far. It gives us the great backstory that ten or twelve years previously, Mac was basically living the life of an ITC adventure show of the early seventies. He and his friends Jack Dalton and Mike Forester, played by Bruce McGill and Patricia McPherson, were globetrotting and treasure-hunting and getting into trouble and breaking each other’s hearts from Martinique to Barbados. Seems like we missed out on a potentially fun show!
Jack Dalton becomes a recurring character after this installment and it’s easy to see why. Like Penny Parker, Jack drives Mac to distraction, though his shtick is that he comes up with one hairbrained “plan” after another and never quite tells the whole truth. He’s the “lovable rogue,” in other words. The setup for this story is that he’d enlisted Mike’s help to scam a drug smuggler in Nosuchlandia, but Mike is captured and so he has to fly to Los Angeles to get Mac. This he does by stealing the entire contents of Mac’s apartment while he’s away on a mission or something. Shenanigans ensue.
Honestly, the only grumbles I have about this episode are entirely down to the inescapable eighties-ness that permeates the whole show. Well, now that it’s over and I’m reading about it, I’ll grumble that Jack comes back about fifteen more times but this is Mike’s only appearance in the show for some dumb reason. Do I want to watch MacGyver rescuing troubled teens from mountain lions, or do I want to watch these three pulling cons and toppling corrupt politicians in the French Riviera? As always, the show that we don’t get is more entertaining.